UCL Grand Challenges


Current Activities

European Voices

UCL’s Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding seeks to ensure cultural interaction and diversity flourishes, GCCU’s European Voices initiative therefore aims to support research into the individual voices and multicultural perspectives included under the term ‘European’ at a time when, in many respects, borders matter less and less and yet nationality is more central to political debate than ever. Cross-disciplinary activities supported include:

⦁    UCL & Europe: European Voices
UCL European Institute, Global Engagement Office, OVPA, UCL Minds

Working with teams across UCL, this initiative developed a portal to UCL’s rich links to Europe: from cross-disciplinary research, external partnerships and engagement, to student, staff and alumni ties to the continent. The project comprises case studies, summaries of research, podcasts and events celebrating UCL's links with Europe. Access the European Voices website here.

European Voices logo banner

⦁    National Parliament Buildings: The Architecture of Power, Accountability and Democracy in Europe 
Professor Sophia Psarra, Bartlett School of Architecture (The Bartlett) | Dr Claudia Sternberg, UCL European Institute

Parliament buildings are the symbols and instruments of political life. They shape political culture and the space where the government is held to account. Their architecture, history, and rituals say a lot about norms of governance and behaviour. With the wide adoption of television coverage and social media, these buildings project political culture outward, changing the scale and speed of communication between citizens and the parliament.

Over a two-part conference series, this project will use historical research, computer modelling, ethnography, documentary film and experimental performance to ask 'How do parliament buildings shape the nations' concept of their political selves?', 'How do spaces, ceremonies, and insignia shape identity, democracy and citizen participation?', and 'Can performance experiments with parliament settings help re-imagine the space of political debate in contemporary societies?'. Learn more on the conference website.

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